Ukrainian Dmitry Minkov’s mission: curate and introduce the biggest selection of craft chocolate from around the world here.
Minkov, 40 (pictured above with his wife Nina), denies being a chocolate snob. The co-founder of chocolate retailer Hello Chocolate – which opened a kiosk at Scotts Square’s On Pedder in 2015 – simply appreciates good chocolate.
“Comparing mass- market chocolate and bean-to-bar chocolate is analogous to comparing instant coﬀee and freshly roasted coﬀee,” says Minkov, explaining his devotion to the movement that entails chocolate makers overseeing the entire production process, from sourcing and roasting the cacao beans to the packaging.
That dedication shows – even with milk chocolate, which connoisseurs generally snub because of its high milk and sugar content. “Bean- to-bar makers are starting to make milk chocolate that preserves the interesting layers in dark chocolate.”
To set up the biggest library of unique bean-to- bar and delicious chocolates, Minkov has traversed chocolate festivals in Tokyo, Seattle and France, and attended the International Chocolate Awards in London. Hello Chocolate currently stocks its shelves with some 100 varieties of chocolate across 11 brands – with cocoa content ranging from 35 to 100 per cent. It plans to expand the collection to 50 brands by year end.
Minkov only works with chocolate makers who have a high-quality product and a compelling brand story. Among them is Danish company Friis-Holm, which uses two unorthodox fermentation methods to achieve a diﬀerent flavour profile for its chocolate; and Menakao, a Madagascan chocolate company that conducts all its operations within the local community, where the cacao beans are grown.
Minkov’s advice for eating chocolate? Always start with a dark chocolate – one with the lowest cocoa percentage (so you don’t overwhelm your palate), then work your way up.